Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

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BA SCORE
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world-class

231 Reviews
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Reviews: 231
Hads: 957
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 429
Gots: 370 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-09-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 231 | Hads: 957
Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep amber with a fair sized head. Head is about 1.5 fingers and frothy. Great retention and lacing. Particles are present in pour, as well as larger ones in the bottle.

S- Very sweet, and fairly prominent bourbon notes. Heavy malts, including prominent peat malt scents. If my memory serves me correctly, smells almost exactly like Curmudgeon Old Ale.

T- Starts off with a sweet and malty bang. Heavy malts intermingle with the maple sweetness. Oak and bourbon notes come to the forefront and provide a little bit of a bite. Fairly complex. The maple and bourbon flavors provide an interesting mix. Ends with the bite of the bourbon flavor and a little alcohol heat, with maybe a hint of almost smoky flavor.

M- Sticky and smooth. Low carbonation levels. Almost syrupy on the palate. Alcohol makes it closer to a sipper, but not too bad for the heavy flavor profile and high ABV.

Overall, I liked this one a lot. I didn't anticipate this one being as good as it was considering how I like the base beer. The maple syrup barrel aging really gives it another interesting aspect. Makes me want CBS even more. (1,121 characters)

Photo of dbossman
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Tawny caramel hue with a thin film of a head and okay lacing considering the style

S: A lot of anise and bourbon and oak and maple syrup; this is boozy and malty and sweet and I cannot wait

T: This is brilliant: dark fruits, maple, anise, oak, bourbon, damn this is so so good

F: Creamy, medium body--such a good mouth feel

O: This is so damn good: bourbon in the finish and a ton of maple and just a bit of anise which strangely brings it together; God, I really love this (481 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half

LOOK: Medium brown color, good clarity, light tan foam.

SMELL: Amazing notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malt, toffee and caramel upfront. The notes resonate in the glass.

TASTE: Malty and oaky, with a touch of maple but mostly just sweetness, smooth bourbon notes, vanilla and caramel. Really tasty stuff; rich and complex.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, low-medium carbonation.

OVERALL: A really great beer. Drink it first or last as it tends to overshadow others. The expressive barrel notes and most excellent base beer of Curmudgeon taste like they were always meant to be together. (623 characters)

Photo of mnphish
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in MPLS at Pracna on Main on 4/25/13. Reviewed from fresh memory and a few notes.

It pours a very appealing caramel orange with little to no head, relatively hazy, just a very bright and warming hue.

It smells of tamed down bourbon and maple, followed by oak, vanilla, brown sugar, booze, and sweet dry fruit. Very inviting.

The taste follows nicely with a huge malt body, and sweet sugar fruits. The maple and bourbon aren't perhaps as big and dominating as i'd like, although it allows for more base beer flavor. Very impressive.

Medium body, light carbonation, massive oak, and light warming. Although the consensus is that this beer is on the downslope, I think it's drinking fantastic now and I bet it still tastes amazing in a few years. (754 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to BBP for this bottle. Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Medium ruby/brown with a big glow around the edges. One finger of bubbly cream-coloured head formed and quickly receded to a few large bubbles around the edges of the glass. Decent lacing.

S - Sweet caramel, raisins, bourbon, vanilla, toffee. Not specifically getting any maple syrup but there is a big overall sweetness. Very complex.

T - A big hit of bourbon up front with vanilla and oak flavours. The barrel aging characteristics definitely dominate the base beer flavours but hey are still present - contributing some toffee, brown sugar, dark caramel and raisin flavours. The alcohol is noticeable but not distracting. The maple syrup shows up in the finish, adding a nice sweetness.

M - Medium to full body, creamy. So smooth and silky. Light carbonation.

O - An excellent beer. Was really happy that I got chance to try this one. (913 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Excited for this one no doubt!

A-Pours a crimson brownish color. Minimal head dies down. Off-white head. Leaves hundreds of lacing spots. Barely hazed.

S-Whoa! Smells awesome. Very powerful. A mix of maple syrup, oaky bourbon, sweet sugars. Alcohol is noticeable but adds depth. Lots of vanilla extract as well. Very aromatically sweet. I am a big fan of the nose. Excited to try.

T-The aging in maple syrup Bourbon barrels has done wonders. The maple syrup is delicious and the underlying Bourbon flavor is a perfect compliment to the intense overall sweetness of this brew. Heaps of molasses, and brown sugar. Vanilla extract and wood that just lingers forever. Great depth. Like a pancake dipped in bourbon then topped off with maple syrup.

M-Full bodied and syrupy like SYRUP of course. Carbonation is very mellow. Slick sugary feel. Alcohol dries me out a bit but that is expected with the ABV. Big fan of the huge body.

O/D-I loved this beer. Big, syrupy, sweet and deep. Oh so rich in flavor. I didn't get a chance to try CBS but this one makes me feel pretty lucky to be able to try. At $17 a 750 ml, it is pricey but anytime Founders does a beer like this you would be foolish not to try. Great beer! (1,214 characters)

Photo of ryantho00
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a snifter.

This brew's carbonation is just wonderful, you get a nice ecru off white foam that laces the glass throughout. This has a nice auburn brownish hue that is consistent throughout.

I get sweet malts and caramel in the first whiff and then some slight bourbon with coffee tones.

Boy oh boy, this beer is just AWESOME! I get a nice sweetness from the malts and chocolate and caramel, coffee, espresso, and frosting. It has a medium body,and is sweet throughout, but most defiantly drinkable and the alcohol is well masked as ALWAYS founders are masters at balancing beers PERFECTLY. IF YOU CAN FIND THIS BUY ONE!

Very nice sweet, malty brew done by the masters at Founders.

Cheers! (717 characters)

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into Tulip.

A. Pours 1 finger head. You can smell the beer as it is poured from the bottle. Not a lot of lacing, but a solid collar of lace left on the glass. Color is an amber brown. Decent retention with a permanent top layer of head.

S. Wow! Brown sugar, molasses, raisins, maple syrup, vanilla, oak, alcohol, candied fruit. All kinds of aroma in this beer. Very sweet smelling with all of that goodness going on. Its like the smell of a candy store for a beer nerd.

T. Damn! One of the smoothest extremely complex tasting beers I have had. Pretty much all of the aroma translates to the taste. Sweet, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, dates, rum soaked fruit, vanilla, oak. Incredibly delicous. Wouldn't mind drinking this for breakfast with my better half.

M. Full bodied. Medium/low carbonation. Mouth coating, lip smacking sweetness.

O. Very good beer. Kind of beer that makes you happy that you just had a beer so good, and sad that you don't have any more. I think Founders could age a barrel of urine in those maple syrup bourbon barrels, and it would taste good. (1,116 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First had this at the night of the barrels liked it…
Wow, this time out of the bottle it’s fantastic.

A sudsy beige head forms and collapses fairly quickly. A decent amount of suds cling to the glass. A nice deep amber/brown color.

Maple, wood, sweetness and a thick malt aroma. If any bourbon, it’s very subtle.

Flavor is wonderful. Lot’s going on. Maple, vanilla, rounded light bourbon, definitely some wood. A lovely sweetness and at the end you can get a bit of molasses… almost a burnt sugar flavor. More vanilla and bourbon in the aftertaste. The lingering flavor in this beer is a definite highlight.

Mouth feel is a potential highlight. So soft, rounded and yet substantial.

I am so glad I was able to score a bottle of this. Just fantastic. (764 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A beautiful dark ruby pour with a huge, dense off-white head atop it. The retention is so good it takes a good 5 minutes for it to recede an inch. Almost annoying because I want to try it! Leaves a solid wall of lacing. Perfect.

S: Loaded with bourbon. Sweet molasses, brown sugar, caramel and oaky vanilla. Hint of dark fruit like raisin and perhaps figs. Maybe a touch of maple but it could be my imagination.

T: Whoa, there's the maple up front and throughout the beer. A wonderful mix of maple syrup and bourbon notes. Molasses, caramel, brown sugar and oak. Maybe a bit of toffee. Super malty - sweet but not cloying, the bourbon helps cut it down a bit.

M: Not as heavy as you might think for an 11.9% beer. It's definitely got some weight to it but it's not syrupy. Carbonation is dead on. Very smooth.

O: It's VERY heavy on the bourbon and the maple flavors are quite strong too. Sweet as can be but what would you expect from a maple syrup bourbon barrel old ale? The flavors compliment each other nicely and nothing is too overpowering. What a great beer, there's nothing else quite like it out there. (1,119 characters)

Photo of Rinkor16
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Opened 9/1/13 with 2 buddies and my brother while we were brewing.

A: A dark caramel color. Very little head.

S: Tons of aroma! Caramel, oak and lots of bourbon.

T: I expected the taste to be HUGE. I was very pleased to find that it was much more mellow than the aroma led on. Oak, caramel, brown sugar and a nice buttery taste with a hint of bourbon.

M: Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation.

O: Damn. I'd drink that for breakfast. Very smooth and the alcohol is almost impossible to taste. I would definitely trade for this beer again. (555 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Pours a deep amber body. Decent head with decent lacing.

Smell - Apples, bourbon, maple. Big molasses aroma. The aromas complement each other very nicely.

Taste - Even better. Apples subdued. Much stronger maple syrup. Sweet dark sugar flavors. Nice earthy hop bitterness to keep it balanced. Awesome.

Mouthfeel - Boozy, for sure. Easy to drink, surprisingly. Almost too light considering the ABV.

Overall - Quite spectacular flavors. Much better than Old Curmudgeon. Every beer needs to be put in maple syrup bourbon barrels. (617 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

Pours deep, clear amber with a big creamy beige head that leaves a solid bubbly cap on top. Really good lacing as well, especially for a barrel-aged beer.

Aroma is big on the bourbon up front with lots of vanilla and oak. The caramel and toffee of the underlying beer are still noticeable as well as some booze-soaked dark fruits.

The taste is super sweet but has a spicy kick up front from some combination of oak and maybe hops. The backbone is full of vanilla, caramel malts, maple syrup and treacle. The finish has an interesting bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is smooth with soft carbonation and really sticky on the palate with the heavy sweetness lingering after each sip.

As usual, Founders has made a fantastic barrel-aged beer. It's certainly sweet but the barrel enhances the underlying beer. Fantastic stuff. (837 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lot of maple in this beer. Take CBS, drop the stout smoothness, add Old Ale heartiness and, surprisingly, ratchet up the maple to make this incredible beer. (159 characters)

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 3/15/12 tasting notes... Paired this with some opening round NCAA Tourney action. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into CBS snifter.

A) This is a pleasing looking burnished brandy. It starts with nearly a finger of head that settles to a wispy dusting. There was not much lacing, seemed to have some alcohol legs.

S) Nice blend of aromas. I picked up some vanilla, maple syrup, caramel, Levi Garrett Tobacco. It's fairly sweet, with a nice hint of the bourbon.

T) Definitely lives up to the expectations I had after savoring the aroma. Vanilla bean, sweet maple syrup, some dark fruits,a little brown sugar, a little woody bourbon barrel cask. The alcohol is well hidden. Well balanced flavors, that deliver a great taste.

M) Nearly full bodied and lightly carbonated. This one is silky smooth. Finishes fairly sweet with complementary earthiness. Nice aftertaste.

O Simply put, this is an outstanding ale. If you are lucky enough to try this one, do not hesitate. Thanks to Founders for another fantastic offering. (1,022 characters)

Photo of xenjoiii
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose is a combination of sweet maple syrup, minor notes of bourbon and sugar; I think it smells like a plate of French toast avec bourbon. Extremely pleasant on the mouth; a little towards the heavy side, but not too heavy. The alcohol is completely masked, though it provides a warming sensation in the stomach. Now for the taste: if you have had Old Curmudgeon in the past, and are familiar with its strong oak presence, have no fear; the sweetness from the maple syrup, and the bourbon (along with the vanillaness that the bourbon brings) really balances out that "woody" flavor into a pleasant surprise. Is it worth seeking out? Yes. I think this beer deserves the same amount of hype that its predecessor received. (723 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Barcade, founders tap night

A - Low white head, poor retention and lace. Hazy ice tea body.

S - Maple syrup, brown sugar, scotch, vanilla, black cherry.

T - Caramel, coffee creamer, cherry concentrate, scotch, vanilla, vanilla wafers, lemon frosting.

M - About as smooth as you could ever ask for. Full, creamy body; but not syrupy.

O - Drinks like Scotch with an incredibly smooth, sweet honey finish. (409 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a snifter. Big thanks to the generous soul who shared this.

A: Clear deep orange body with a thin layer of fine tan bubbles. Ok.

S: Sweet, amazing. Maple, bourbon, vanilla, oak, and butterscotch. Plenty of booze, too. More maple as it warms. Decadent.

T: Caramel and butterscotch up front, with maple and oak filling in toward the back end. Long, sweet, boozy finish. Really great.

M: Rich, thick, and moderately carbonated with creamy bubbles. Pretty darn perfect.

O: Way, way better than the base beer. Delicious stuff.

Cheers! (553 characters)

Photo of zep9865
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed with aasher on 2/28. Poured into aecht schlenferla snifter. Pours a beatiful mahogany with a slight ring of white foam head. If you tilt the glass you can see this beer's wonderful residual sugar

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, raisins dates, and ahhh maple syrup. Alcohol appears to be well masked.

Vanilla and bourbon are sharp, followed by lingering maple syrup and some booze. Lots of raisins and a little bit of nut as well.

Nice balance of maple syrup and bourbon without an overly boozy finish.

What a treat. Didn't think that goose could be competed with in the bourbon beer category. (603 characters)

Photo of raleigh_blue
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

10 oz pour into improper glass (pint glass). I was just happy to try the Kaiser. Cloudy with some residual sediments in the pour. I was one of the first to order this and also had it mid-way through the sixtel so i suppose after sitting a few years this was typical. Deep amber color.

Smell: Boozy caramel and vanilla. Taking in a full waft of this made my mouth water.

Taste: Boozy caramel, bourbon and vanilla. Super sweet, but I love it. Tastes like a caramel apple without the apple.

Mouthfeel: Thick and coating. Like chocolate milk with caramel/vanilla instead of chocolate.

Overall: If you happen to see it, by all means drink it. Outstanding by every measure. (672 characters)

Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear deep amber with almost two fingers of tan head. Head has pretty good retention. Only small spots of lacing.

S - Nice bourbon presence, with quite a bit of vanilla and oak in the aroma. Also a bit of caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar. Definitely some noticeable alcohol, but it doesn't detract from the aroma.

T - Caramel is more apparent in the taste, but vanilla and oak are still the spotlight flavors. The is sweetness, but not as much as I feared. The oak cuts the sweetness nicely. Taste is also a bit boozy. Very smooth flavors. Really tasty.

M - Full mouthfeel. Smooth and slick, with sweetness up front, but a nice dry, oaky finish.

O - I don't enjoy Curmudgeon enough to get it very often, but this is a nice use of the base beer. Very nice sipper. (779 characters)

Photo of bsp77
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Burnished red with thin off-white head and subtle lacing.

Smell: Kind of a laundry list of aromas - caramel, toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut, maple syrup, plum. Pretty sweet overall, both literally and figuratively.

Taste: Very sweet. I usually have a problem with that, but not here. Malty and fruity core that is wonderfully overrun with vanilla, oak, coconut and maple syrup. Fairly boozy as well, but it fits with the profile here.

Feel: Thick, syrupy and warming, with pretty low carbonation. Smooth and a nice sipper overall.

Overall: Just great stuff. Founders is great at barrel aging, and has particularly worked wonders with these Maple Syrup Bourbon Barrels.

Overall: (752 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku. The pour is reddish-amber and slightly hazy with a finger of off-white head that quickly dissipates. On the nose I get some fruity esters, some bourbon, toffee, and some faint vanilla notes. Some dried fruit and alcohol fumes as well.

Very full body and velvety, creamy, chewy mouthfeel. The sweet, toasty, caramel-like sweetness hits you like a big malty club. Loads of sweetness. On the front of the palate is sweet malt, caramel, toffee, and candied sugar laced with vanilla, cream, and oaky, bourbony goodness. I think I'm getting a very faint trace of maple syrup too. There is a mild balancing hoppy bitterness at mid-palate and a nice, warming hit of booziness on the finish.

The last time I tried it, I thought that the standard Curmudgeon was a bit too sweet and boozy. However, I may need to revisit it because I thought this version of it was simply outstanding. The bourbon-barrel aging suits this style perfectly, just like it does big barleywines. It goes perfectly with the cold, damp weather outside. (1,063 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Big Hunt on President's Day. Served in a something or other; I shamefully didn't write that part down. Glassware fail. Let's pretend it was in my Founders tulip.

Pours a fairly-dark caramel-copper color with a bit of an off-white head and some spotty lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward some really nice maple notes along with some toffee and caramel. The background has a bit of bourbon, oak, and vanilla with some butterscotch thrown in for good measure. For whatever reason, I also got notes of caramelized banana. Either way, it was awesome, so let's roll with that.

The flavor certainly didn't fall off. Great maple and barrel notes with sweet caramel and a touch of fruit. Brown sugar there as well. Caramelized banana yet again. I can't get away from that. Medium-full body with a slick texture and nice carbonation. Just a touch of warming booze. Founders strikes again. One of America's beer champions.

EDIT:

Original review of the first batch of Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon:

Pours bright ruby with a nice white dad and lacing. Nose is a bit rich. Caramel and fried banana are the initial scents. Slight sweetness. Taste is quite sweet. Caramel and candied fruits. Slight banana. Mouthfeel is rich and only slightly hot. This will age very nicely.

4.5 / 4.0 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 4.0 (September 4, 2010) (1,335 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Thanks to Teresa's for offering this on tap!

Served in a tulip glass, a slightly hazy mahogany brown color, with a small cap of ivory head that dissipated mostly but left some very nice lacing on the glass. Aroma was pretty boozy, with obvious notes of dark sugars and dark dried fruits, woody and leafy afterthoughts. Tasted delicious...brown sugar, molasses, maple, quite boozy, but not really a distinctive bourbon profile until it was allowed to get a bit warmer; raisins, figs, worty malts, with touches of vanilla and licorice. Very complex and tasty, quite smooth, and more so at a warmer temp; alcohol is obvious, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness. Full bodied, and very drinkable. I had no problem ordering another. (777 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 231 ratings.